Repurposing the antibacterial agents peptide 19-4LF and peptide 19-2.5 for treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis
Drug repurposing
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)
Peptide 19-2.5
Peptide 19-4LF
Drug resistance
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El-Dirany, R.; Fernández-Rubio, C. (Celia); Peña-Guerrero, J.; et al. "Repurposing the antibacterial agents peptide 19-4LF and peptide 19-2.5 for treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis". Pharmaceutics. 24 (11), 2022, 2528
The lack of safe and cost-effective treatments against leishmaniasis highlights the urgent need to develop improved leishmanicidal agents. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an emerging category of therapeutics exerting a wide range of biological activities such as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-tumoral. In the present study, the approach of repurposing AMPs as antileishmanial drugs was applied. The leishmanicidal activity of two synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide peptides (SALPs), so-called 19-2.5 and 19-4LF was characterized in Leishmania major. In vitro, both peptides were highly active against intracellular Leishmania major in mouse macrophages without exerting toxicity in host cells. Then, q-PCR-based gene profiling, revealed that this activity was related to the downregulation of several genes involved in drug resistance (yip1), virulence (gp63) and parasite proliferation (Cyclin 1 and Cyclin 6). Importantly, the treatment of BALB/c mice with any of the two AMPs caused a significant reduction in L. major infective burden. This effect was associated with an increase in Th1 cytokine levels (IL-12p35, TNF-¿, and iNOS) in the skin lesion and spleen of the L. major infected mice while the Th2-associated genes were downregulated (IL-4 and IL-6). Lastly, we investigated the effect of both peptides in the gene expression profile of the P2X7 purinergic receptor, which has been reported as a therapeutic target in several diseases. The results showed ...

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